Will Manpreet Badal go Sampat Singh`s way?

Punjab`s Finance Minister and his former Haryana counterpart Sampat Singh may not have much in common, but the predicament which the former finds himself in is somewhat similar to one faced by Singh just over a year back.

Chandigarh: Punjab`s Finance Minister
Manpreet Badal and his former Haryana counterpart Sampat Singh
may not have much in common, but the predicament which the
former finds himself in is somewhat similar to the one faced
by Singh just over a year back.

48-year-old Manpreet finds himself in the eye of a storm
with Punjab`s Deputy Chief Minister and his party head Sukhbir
Singh Badal on the issue of the said proposal from the Centre
for a term loan waiver to Punjab.

While Manpreet finds himself cornered and isolated within
his party the Shiromani Akali Dal, headed by his cousin
Sukhbir, Sampat Singh on the other hand had apparently felt
stifled after his relations soured with Om Prakash Chautala,
the head of his the then party Indian National Lok Dal.

60-year-old Sampat Singh quit INLD over a year back after
serving the party for 32 years to join the Congress in Haryana
after he claimed that Chautala, a former Chief Minister, had
tried to "subvert" policies of former Deputy Prime Minister
late Devi Lal and "commercialised" the party.

Sampat, who was Haryana`s Finance Minister from 2000-05
in the INLD government, contested as Congress candidate the
2009 State Assembly poll and won from the Nalwa constituency.

Both SAD led by 48-year-old Sukhbir and Chautala`s INLD
are regional parties and allies and the two parties jointly
contested the 2009 Haryana polls.

Sampat during his tenure as Finance Minister and
Manpreet, a three time SAD MLA from Gidderbaha, are considered
to have a proactive approach on the economic front, even if it
meant ruffling feathers with their political masters.

With party leaders, including several SAD Ministers,
throwing their weight behind Sukhbir, Manpreet is believed to
have been pushed to the corner and has reportedly even offered
to quit if Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal wants him to
step down.

As the fire rages within the SAD, it remains to be seen
if Manpreet will take the hard step of leaving his party, with
which it has come in with direct confrontation.

Earlier, the Punjab Government has refuted Manpreet`s
claims that the Centre had come up with a special term loan
waiver scheme for Punjab, saying it had not received any
written offer from New Delhi waiving off Rs 35,000 crore of
the state`s debt along with certain conditions.

SAD has constituted a five-member disciplinary committee
of the party to rein in dissent in the wake of divergent views
emerging within the party over the reported proposal from the
Centre.

PTI

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